CENTRAL NEW YORK – Are you ready to ride in the snow? is your car AAA Western and Central New York has compiled some of the best winter car care tips to ensure drivers stay safe this winter season.
AAA Winter Car Care Checklist:
- Emergency Road Gear – Carry emergency gear that’s equipped for winter weather. The kit should contain:
- Mobile phone with pre-programmed rescue apps and essential phone numbers including emergency services and family members
- Cell phone car charger
- drinking water
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable snacks for human and pet passengers
- Bags of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- snow shovel
- Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window cleaner for the winter
- Ice scraper with brush
- tissues or paper towels
- jumper cable
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Basic equipment (screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench)
Automotive Service – Make your vehicle fit for the winter:
Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system checked by a qualified technician. AAA members can request a visit from an AAA Mobile Battery Service technician to test their battery and replace it on site if necessary. AAA-approved auto repair shops can also test and replace weak batteries.
Battery Cables and Terminals – Ensure battery terminals and cable ends are free of corrosion and connections are tight.
Drive Belts – Inspect the underside of the accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many recent multi-ribbed “serpentine” belts are made from materials that show no obvious signs of wear; Replace these belts at 60,000 mile intervals.
Engine Hoses – Inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks, or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or feel excessively spongy.
Tire Type and Tread – In areas with severe winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best traction. This year, winter tires are in high demand in the face of a tire shortage, so drivers should buy tires immediately if necessary. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Begin buying new tires when the tread depth reaches 4/32″ and replace any tires that have a tread depth of 2/32″ or less. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance, or suspension issues that need to be addressed to prevent further tire damage.
Tire Pressure – Check the tire pressures of all four tires and the spare tire more frequently during the fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so does tire pressure—typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The correct tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual or on a tire information decal, usually located on the driver’s side door jamb.
Air Filter – Check the engine’s air filter by holding it up to a 60 watt light bulb. If light can be seen through most of the filter, it is clean enough to work effectively. However, if most of the filter is blocking the light, replace it.
Coolant level – Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the required antifreeze capability. Be sure to use the type of coolant required for your vehicle. Check the antifreeze level once a year with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.
Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, hazard lights and reverse lights. Replace any blown bulbs.
Wiper Blades – The blades should clean the glass completely with each wipe. Replace any blade that streaks or misses spots. In snowy areas, consider installing one-piece “bar” wiper blades or special winter blades with a rubber cover over the frame. Both reduce ice and snow build-up that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
Washer Fluid – Fill the washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution formulated not to freeze.
Brakes – If there are any signs of a brake problem, have the system checked by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good condition.
Transmission, Brake, and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above safe minimums.
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